Top 10 Books for Studying Economic Geography

Interested in Economic Geography? Then list may be of use to you. As I am coming towards the end of my PhD journey, I’ve been taking stock of the resources and texts that have been invaluable to me over the years. The books listed here are a great starting point for anyone interested in economic geography. Reading any of these books will open up a wealth of further literature across the breadth of the sub-discipline. In future posts I will try to highlight some of the texts which are useful for specific areas of Economic Geography.

1) Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction – Neil Coe, Phillip Kelly and Henry Yeung

If you are looking for an overall introduction to economic geography this is a great place to start.  The book provides a comprehensive introduction to a growing field, providing a vibrant and distinctive geographical insight into the economy. In addition it contrasts a distinctively geographical approach with popular conceptions and assumptions in economics and management studies.

  • Coe, N., Kelly, P., and Yeung, H. (2007) Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction, London: John Wiley & Sons

2) Sage Handbook of Economic Geography

A little more pricey than others on this list, but having picked this up at the AAG Conference in Seattle last April, it’s been indispensable since. There are 25 articles from many of the well known names in economic geography, divided into eight parts: Location Models and Quantitative Economic Geography; Political Economies of Space I, Political Economies of Space II, Political Economies of Space III, Political Economies of Nature; Uneven development: Geographies of Economic Geographies of Economic growth and decline; Geographies of Consumption and Economic Spectacle; Rethinking the Economic. The topics covered provides a comprehensive summary of developments in the field of economic geography, and what today constitutes economic geography.

  • Leyshon, A., Lee, R., McDowell, L and Sunley, P. (eds) (2011) The Sage Handbook of Economic Geography, London: Sage

3) Economic Geography of the UK – Neil Coe and Andrew Jones

Another great recent addition to the Economic Geography literature, which I would consider an essential companion to anyone seeking knowledge and understanding of socio-economic change in the contemporary UK space economy. The book was born out of an all day series of sessions at the RGS-IBG Conference in 2008, containing 18 chapters divided into four parts: Setting the Scene: Uneven Economic Geographies; Landscapes of Power, Inequality and Finance; Landscapes of Production and Circulation and Landscapes of Social Change. For uptodate economic geography in the UK context, this is your place to start.

  • Coe, N. and Jones, A., (eds) (2010) The Economic Geography of the UK, London: Sage

4) Key Concepts in Economic Geography – Yuko Aoyama, James Murphy, Susan Hanson
Organised into 20 essays this book offers an overview of the conceptual underpinnings of economic geography. It identifies and explains the key concepts in the discipline, demonstrating their historical roots and contemporary applications to fully understand the processes of economic change, regional growth and decline, globalization, and the changing locations of firms and industries.

  • Aoyama, Y., Murphy, J., and Hanson, S. (2010) Key Concepts in Economic Geography, London: Sage

5) Reading Economic Geography – Trevor Barnes, Jamie Peck, Eric Sheppard, Adam Tickell
Another comprehensive volume contributing to the field of economic geography, bringing together ideas from some of the top minds in the field.  The book contains 25 chapters divided into four sections: Worlds of Economic Geography; Realms of Production; Resource Worlds and Social Worlds.

  • Barnes, T., Peck, J., Sheppard, E. and Tickell, A. (Eds) (2003) Reading Economic Geography, London: Wiley-Blackwell

6) Economic Geographies: Circuits, Flows and Spaces – Hudson

This book provides a detailed overview of recent key debates in economic geography, from political-economy and Marxism to post-structuralism, an explanation of hte relations between production, exchange and sale and consumption, governance and regulation, and a discussion of the economy in terms of circuits, flows and spaces. In essence, the eight chapters, dealing with concepts, flows, spaces and scale pull together the underlying themes and key questions in economic geography.

  • Hudson, R., (2005) Economic Geographies: Circuits, Flows and Spaces, London: Sage

7) Remaking Regional Economies: Power, Labour and firm strategies in the knowledge economy – Susan Christopherson and Jennifer Clark

Unlike most of the other books in this list, this is a more specific book which makes a significant contribution to the literatures on firm strategy, labour markets and regional development through a series of detailed case studies. For anyone exploring issues of labour markets, this is should definately be on your list. More recommended texts on labour geographies will be covered in a future post.

  • Christopherson, S. and Clark, J. (2009) Remarking the Regional Economies: Power, Labour and Firm Strategies in the Knowledge Economy

8) Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography – Gordon Clark, Meric Gertler and Maryann Feldman
This volume covers alot of the key questions raised in economic geography, a history of the sub-discipline and a discussion of contemporary debates. It attempts to investigate the rival theories and perspectives that have sustained the recent development of economic geography, and offers stimulating insights into the emerging global economy of the twenty-first century. There are 34 substantial chapters divided into seven sections: Conceptual perspectives; Global Economic Integration; Corporate Structure, Strategy and Location; The Geography of Innovation; Localities and Difference; Global Transformations; and the final section entitled Coda.

  • Clark, G., Gertler, M. and Feldman, M.(eds) (2003) The Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography, Oxford: Oxford University Press

9) An Introduction to Economic Geography: Globalization, Uneven Development and Place – Danny Mackinnon and Andrew Cumbers

The title provides a comprehensive introduction to the diversity in the field of economic geography. For me this volume has provided a greater level of detail on some specific aspects of economic geography. I particularly found the chapters on ‘Shaping the Capitalist Economy’ and ‘The State and the Economy’ particularly helpful when trying to incorporate these ideas into my own research.

10) Economic Geography of Innovation  – Karen Polenske

This book, somewhat different from the others suggest here in that it is a little more specific, offering a critical analysis of the institutional and spatial aspects of innovation, a key aspect to many studies of economic geography and anyone considering national systems. The fourteen chapters are divided in to three parts: Concepts and measurements in innovation; Institutional and spatial aspects of information and knowledge flows: Institutions and Innovation systems

  • Polenske, K. (ed) (2007) The Economic Geography of Innovation, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

Well that’s it, are there any books not included here that would be in your top 10?

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1 Response to Top 10 Books for Studying Economic Geography

  1. gregorylent says:

    i want to see a whole-systems, earth as one unit, economic book, geographical, or any other category ..

    seems so little thinking on this most important aspect of the science. oh well, that’s what this century is for


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